Washington Commanders Survive Up-And-Down 4th Quarter to Top Jacksonville Jaguars

The Washington Commanders survived a tumultuous fourth quarter to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. The Commanders seemed in control early in the game, ending the first half up 14-3, but a pair of interceptions from quarterback Carson Wentz gave the Jaguars short fields on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, and Jacksonville took a shocking 22-14 lead. Wentz quickly redeemed himself, throwing a pair of late touchdowns to eventually deliver the Commanders a 28-22 win.

Wentz made his debut for the Commanders and flashed every bit of the up-and-down game that cost him starting opportunities with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. The aforementioned lows were dire, but the highs were there too. Wentz finished the game with four touchdown passes and 305 net yards, including an exhilarating third-down 24-yard scoring strike to Jahan Dotson on the game-winning drive. Wentz may not have done anything to diminish his reputation for streakiness, but he should provide the Commanders plenty of excitement as the team tries to compete in the NFC East. It looks like he should have some help from runningback Antonio Gibson, who led the team in rushing and receiving, running for 58 yards on 14 carries and hauling in seven receptions for 58 yards.
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As for the Jaguars, they had hoped the arrival of Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson might rejuvenate quarterback Trevor Lawrence following a disastrous one-year stint under Urban Meyer, but the passer didn't offer much. The 2021 NFL Draft's first overall pick looked tentative, struggling to 260 net yards on 44 dropbacks and squandering a couple late opportunities to steal the game. At least the Jaguars will have some reason for optimism due to the talent they've placed around Lawrence: running back James Robinson was efficient rushing for 66 yards on 11 carries, controversial free agent wide receiver Christian Kirk was impressive with 117 yards on 12 targets, and the 2022 NFL Draft's first-overall pick Travon Walker notched a sack and interception in his NFL debut.

Looking ahead to Week 2, the Washington Commanders travel to Detroit for an NFC clash with the Lions, and the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South showdown.
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